Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Siena Heights College in Adrian, Michigan, was where I spent my first year of college.  This town of Siena has nothing to do with that, but it is perched atop  three of the rolling hills of bella Toscana.  I took a bus there, and sometimes it's just a good idea to let someone else drive, because you could hurt yourself badly by gaping in awe at the countryside whilst sitting behind the wheel.  It was a rapid transit that took only an hour and 15 minutes.

There was a run taking place when we arrived in Siena, and a passel of runners sped by us as we stepped off the bus.  The run ended in the famous Piazza del Campo, which was my first destination.  

The Palazzo Pubblico was directly across the piazza from me as I relaxed and people watched whilst sipping my caffelatte and munching on a delicious cream-filled croissant.

I couldn't figure out whether these people were waiting for something to happen in the piazza or whether this is just how some Siena residents or tourists decided to spend Sunday afternoon.

I paid the 8 euro entry fee to get into the museum in the Palazzo Pubblico to see the frescoes  it is so famous for housing.  And I wasn't a smidgen disappointed.  They were fabulous!  Of course, no photos were allowed, so again I borrowed from the Internet.

This room houses an amazing fresco by Ambrogio Lorenzetti and is said to be one of the most remarkable accomplishments of the Renaissance.  The work was commissioned by the local government.

Lorenzetti was asked to paint allegorical depictions of good and bad government and the effects each would have in the town and the country.  This fresco represents "good" government".

And this wall depicts the effects of good government on life in the town.

This wall depicts bad government--you might see Satan sitting on his throne over toward the right.  Unfortunately, this fresco is deteriorating in several areas, while the "good government" frescoes are in very good condition.  Is that an allegory in progress?

  I really enjoyed my tour of this museum because it wasn't all religious art.  You could get a view of secular life from some of frescoes.  

My next stop was the Duomo.

Again, no photos allowed inside.  This is the pulpit and nave.

There's just no end to spectacular cathedrals in Italy.

When I stopped at an ATM to get some cash, I discovered that I didn't have my debit card, and I couldn't remember the PIN number for my credit card.  I had about enough cash left for a decent mid-afternoon lunch/dinner, but nothing for entry fees to other sights.  So I just wandered around town for a while.

This is the Basilica of San Domenica.  This view gives a sense of the character of Siena.

One of the many little side streets.

Typical of the more major streets.

A few flowers to remind us it's spring.

Another long view.

It was a nice way to spend a Sunday.

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